To The Parents of College-Bound Kids

To The Parents of College-Bound Kids

What I Wish I Knew Before I Left For College Going away to college is HUGE. It’s rated one of the top life-changing challenges that we go through, right up there with divorce, and the death of a spouse. It is THE most challenging transition for college-bound kids, since they usually have not married or divorced yet. And what do we focus on when preparing them? Academics. That seems obvious, right? It’s a competitive world and they need to learn how to study, and write papers on a whole new level. And yet, there are some things even MORE important than grades, tests, and study habits. Like safety. And responsibility. And accountability. I don’t remember knowing what those words really meant before I went off to my freshman year. Your 17- or 18-year-old is dying to get away from you and have “freedom”. They may not listen to you anymore. You may have turned into the Charlie Brown teacher to them years ago: blah blah…blah blah blah blah blah… So how the heck are you going to get them to listen to YOU when you try to talk to them about the tough topics like sex in “college,” drinking responsibly, the dangers of legal and illegal drugs, and sexual predators? How will you know you are getting through to them? You don’t know and you can’t. They do not want to talk to you about this stuff and deep down, you don’t really want to talk to them about this stuff, either. Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby Let’s face it—with all due respect, most of us are uncomfortable talking...
Space, Wiggle Room and a Little Bit of Love

Space, Wiggle Room and a Little Bit of Love

I’d like to tell you a story, since that that’s how we learn the best. And most of us enjoy a good love story, right? I coach men about relationships. And I coach women as well about relationships, health and fitness. I’ve been a marathon runner, a personal trainer, and a workout nut for over 20 years. Clearly, I am a type A personality…in case you haven’t guessed. One of my clients, named Claire, came to work with me. She was burned out in her life. While she was succeeding in her career and in good physical shape, she was not satisfied or content. Her dating life was ok. She worked out several times a week, but just felt like she was on the treadmill of life. You know that hamster wheel feeling? The one where the little guy runs and runs on the wheel, but doesn’t get anywhere? Yeah, we’ve all been there. We had a session together, and we kept going deeper into what was really going on with her. After all, on the outside, she looked just “fine” according to most people. She was not satisfied, or “lit up” about her life. Whatever You Resists, Persists As both a coach and one in the transformational world for 19 years, I know that whatever you resist, persists. So at first, she did not want to go there. She kept saying she was fine. However, my job as a coach is to get into what’s going on underneath that fine exterior. This is the juicy part of my job. After doing some work, Claire realized that she was...
Spring Break, Shame and Recovery

Spring Break, Shame and Recovery

Spring is coming! I’ve always loved spring. My birthday is in March. So is my sister’s and her daughter’s, so it’s always been a fun thing to look forward to. And for some reason, spring was usually a harder semester for me than the fall. Like most students, I couldn’t wait to have Spring Break. I remember feeling pressure from other students and myself about making sure I had a super fun Spring Break—one that was worthy of bragging about. I had talked my best friend, Anna, to drive us down to Padre Island, in south Texas. My parents had forbidden me to go, but I just lied to them. Anna had not wanted to go because she was self conscious about her body in a bikini. But I begged and pleaded and so we drove the 8 hours it took to get there. Blackouts and Closets The first night we were there, out with friends, Anna had gotten into a fight with a guy at a club, and then later she and I got into a fist fight. Of course there was alcohol involved and somehow we managed to stumble our way home to sleep on the floor of a friend’s condo. The next day we were both filled with remorse and shame, so in order to escape dealing with those feelings, we went to Mexico to “shop”. After a day of margaritas and Coronas, somehow we managed to get ourselves back over the border into the US. This is where it gets a bit blurry for me. Suddenly I found myself at a party in a condo...
Tips for a Safe Spring Break

Tips for a Safe Spring Break

Spring Break Safety Every year the stories we hear about Spring Break get more and more nightmarish. Coeds making poor choices relating to alcohol use are at the root of most—if not all—of these incidents. We all have to stand up and speak out! Let’s talk about these tough topics and teach our kids how to be safe and smart during Spring Break!...
Gaslighting = Emotional Abuse

Gaslighting = Emotional Abuse

What is Gaslighting? Emotional Abuse I’m talking about gaslighting and this is a term—learned this in Al-Anon. It’s when someone in your life is emotionally cutting you off or undermining you. It’s a slow erosion. It’s very confusing. It’s not like when someone hits you. You can feel that. Or if there’s a fly on the wall, you can see that. When there’s emotional undermining and verbal undermining it’s much trickier and more challenging. Especially If you grew up in an insane or alcoholic environment, then a lot of times where you don’t know if you trust yourself or you’re overreacting. You don’t always have the best meters to gauge things with. I was in a relationship with a guy and he would say things like: “You can’t do that. I’ll handle that. You’re just going to mess that up.” If we got lost it was my fault. If the restaurant was bad it was my fault, even if he picked it. If the movie was bad it was my fault. It was this slow, slow erosion. He would say, “No one is going to love you like I love you.” Or he would say, “You smell after you work out.” And I’d think, “But aren’t you happy that I work out?” I really hope that if anyone is in that situation, you will write to me because I can support you. It’s dangerous and tricky. It’s a slippery slope. It’s Easier When They Hit You: Gaslighting is Subtle I used to have a joke that goes, “It’s easier when they hit you.” And I don’t mean that literally,...

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